The Australian Football League is "on the verge of announcing a bail-out package" for Melbourne, although a final figure has yet to be determined, according to Pierik & Wilson of THE AGE. The AFL Commission met on Monday, with Melbourne, Essendon and the "health of expansion sides Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney among the agenda items." Melbourne is in line to receive a deal worth more than A$2.5M ($2.3M) as it seeks to rebuild "on and off the field." The AFL has said the package is "highly conditional." Melbourne board member Alan Stockdale's bid to become president of Melbourne "was also discussed by the commission" (THE AGE, 7/16).
ESSENDON: In Sydney, Patrick Smith reported to AFL observers, AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou last week "appeared to deliberately but subtly change the rhetoric of the drug scandal that has dogged Essendon all season." The "infamous peptide AOD-9604," so central to the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigation into supplement use at the club last year, "was considered less of a villain after remarks from Demetriou." Demetriou: "There is a view from WADA that they have deemed AOD-9604 to be banned. The AFL received the (Australian Crime Commission) report where it was determined that it wasn't banned, so there is an issue whether it is banned or not banned" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 7/16). Also in Sydney, Mark Robinson reported Demetriou said that "people should not assume he has set the scene for a soft landing for Essendon in the drugs scandal." Demetriou added that his comments "about the 'classification issue' of anti-obesity drug AOD-9604" should not be construed as a sign the league was pre-empting the outcome of ASADA inquiry into the club's supplements program. Demetriou: "I wasn't pre-empting or softening. I was asked, 'Does the AFL believe AOD-9604 was a banned substance?' I said I'm not giving a running commentary but I will say there is some uncertainty about the status of AOD-9604. Why don't people listen to the whole interview (with 3AW's Neil Mitchell)" (HERALD SUN, 7/15).